Bruce Jenner has in essence exposed the medical profession; it can be done

June 2, 2015
Has to be one of the fittest grandpa's in recent memory (Photo Credit es.wikipedia.org_

Has to be one of the fittest grandpa’s in recent memory. Wait till you see how well he cleans up. (Photo Credit es.wikipedia.org)

Was Bruce Jenner right or wrong to introduce himself publicly as a woman when he’s got a wife (ex, soon-to-be ex, oh I don’t know, it’s all so confusing) and children? After all, he presented himself to the world as a father and husband, so does this mean the whole family image was a facade? Well those are interesting questions and I’m sure they will be tackled around endless dinner tables. So we will leave that trip down Alice’s wonderland for another dinner party.

My thoughts, well actually my rant today, is on the subject of Bruce’s hair, or his hairline to be more precise. I can’t believe the apparent disparity in the availability of treatments for the haves and the have nots. Take a quick look around the office, grocery store, church or wherever you happen to be the next time you have access to view a sizable gathering of female heads. I submit to you that almost half of the women in any group (ages 30-65) will have the beginning of thinning around the edges, or maybe a touch of thinning right at the crown of the head. I confess I suffer from edges so thin that it’s been over a year since I’ve been able to comfortably pull back my hair in a carefree bouncy ponytail. Suffice it to say that bangs have become one of my closest and most constant companions.

Granted, articles abound offering theories on why this trend seems to be occurring. Some say the hormones in the foods we eat are unhealthy and that hair volume and vibrancy is an indicator of our overall health. I’ve also read that the stress we put on our hair in the name of good grooming (perms, curly kits, dyes, extreme heat and braids) can have long-term detrimental effects. All of these things may be true, and if so, it’s likely that the blame for the condition of each of our heads of crowning glory lies squarely on our own shoulders, literally. Whatever the reason, there is clearly a problem as evidenced by the late night reign of hair rescue infomercials like those for the Bosley Hair Club.

My point is that if a man, that’s a right a man, can have a hairline as thick and face-framing as Jenner’s on the Vanity Fair cover, there is no reason the common woman shouldn’t be able to get the same thing. We should not have to sweat under hot wigs in 100-degree weather. We should not have to avoid standing near light bulbs for fear the reflection might show a peek of our scalp. The hair extension industry should not be poaching nearly a billion dollars annually of our hard-earned money, simply because we feel we have no other choice.

Whatever hormones Jenner was given to facilitate his transformation obviously had a positive effect on his hair and edges. Doctors around the country should immediately start making this a part of thinning hair treatment, and insurance companies should not give them any flack. In their silly little bottom line books, the big insurance giants may initially balk at covering these costs by calling them cosmetic, rather than medical concerns. However, when you’re happy chemicals are released in your body and brain that have an overall uplifting effect on the body, and can foster good health.

I believe it would increase our self-confidence, and sense of freedom to let our hair literally blow in the wind. If the technology exists, and unless that hairline was drawn on it clearly does, then let’s use it to the advantage of all women. Hair thinning around the edges, doctors say live with it, it’s a part of aging. Yet Jenner has great edges at 65. Hairs sprouting on the chin, doctors say live with it and use tweezers. Yet Jenner’s chin is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Well I say enough is enough. Obviously something can be done. Why should transgenders have all the best doctors, and why can’t our doctors in Middle America take lessons from them for the benefit of all society? One for all and all for one. Let’s do it!!!

Student Loans: They’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse, even though you probably should

May 28, 2015
Student loan debt can end up having a death grip on many of our young graduates. (Photo Credit:  www.flickr.com)

Student loan debt can end up having a death grip on many of our young graduates. (Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com)

Student Loans. These two words can strike fear into the hearts of everyone from the newly graduated entry-level employee to the CEO who has been with the company for 25 years. Why is this? Because chances are they both are making payments. Sounds farfetched? Well it is not. The student loan gang has resources that make mob organization collections seem like Avon ladies ringing doorbells to pick up their money. No matter how many years have gone by, no matter how many times you’ve moved, changed your name or entered an FBI witness protection program for an unrelated matter, the Student Loan Mafia (SLM) will find you. They won’t break your leg, but the incessant calls can make you feel like banging your head against a wall.

Let me backtrack and say that student loans have seemed like a Godsend to many, including myself, who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to pursue a post graduate degree. For that I am eternally grateful. But if I had known then what I know now, I would have never taken out one of those loans. I would have worked, saved up some money and then taken one class at a time, paying cash, until I obtained my degree.

However, for many of us, the lure of that money paying for classes gave us the opportunity to fully focus on our studies and exams without having to concern ourselves with grueling work schedules. And truth be told, after the loan check came and the classes were paid for, there was usually a little something left over to get a few groceries to eat and gasoline for the car. Okay, looking back it was a pretty sweet life.

Then came the big crock at graduation. The Secretary of State of Georgia at the time gave a riveting speech that had us believing the job world would welcome us with open arms because we’d furthered our education. She said, “You will find that your degree will almost immediately command $10,000 more onto your salary.” Strange that I can remember her quote so vividly after 11 years, but there are two reasons for that. One, we believed her and it had us graduates cheering wildly and bursting with hope. And two, it’s vivid because of the betrayal I felt when it never happened, at least not for me, at least not yet. I can’t help it because like the saying goes, hope springs eternal, doesn’t it?

Back to my original point of this post which is the stress the SLM puts on people. There should be some kind of clause written in the student loan contract that allows the loan to be forgiven if you come out owing $100,000 and most starting salaries are around $26,000. That’s just way too much of a disparity to be reasonable. The poor graduate ends up skipping the rent every other month in order to pay the loan. It becomes a vicious cycle as the next month it is the car payment that is passed over in lieu of paying the SLM. The collectors, who probably owe loans themselves, are desperately cutthroat in their attempts to solicit payments. Now to be fair, they do give you six months after graduation before the first payment is due, but sometimes it takes long than that to secure the kind of salary that can handle those payments.

These things being said, the SLM does have a right to be paid. Anyone raised with any sense of right and wrong knows that if you borrow some money, the correct thing to do is pay back what you owe at the agreed upon interest rates. So it’s just something that I and other SLM debtors will have to deal with until we make our last payment.

P.S. Congratulations to all of the graduates this year. Keep all of your options open and before you put ink to paper to take out a student loan, please consider the military, Peace Corps and other ways to finance your education. There are also professions like teaching, firefighting and others that will pay off your student loans if you work for them. The possibilities are endless. Your accomplishment in obtaining your degree is to be admired and, despite my rant, is something that you should always be proud of. Enjoy your day and bask in the celebration.

Is a snowman better than no man?

May 26, 2015
Set the standards for the love you want, and then relax and revel in it.  (Photo credit: kolibanat.deviantart.com-)

Set the standards for the love you want, and then relax and revel in it. (Photo credit: kolibanat.deviantart.com-)

There was a very interesting conversation this morning on the Tom Joyner Morning Show. They were discussing relationships. The guest was an author who’d written a book about the interaction between men and women. She said that she’d like to start a movement wherein women would not take any crap. My grandmother and mother often used the phrase that some women seemed to think “a snowman is better than no man”. That means that a man whose professed love, loyalty, commitment and honesty were as fleeting as the ice in a snowman melting on a hot day, had just as much of a chance of finding a good woman as a true blue man did. And this is because some women would rather take any kind of treatment than to be single.

She wants women to set higher standards for the kind of treatment we receive from men, right down to the smallest details. I’d never really thought about texting in a negative way because it is so much a part of our society. But this author said that texting to ask for a first date is an absolute no-no. She said that a woman who allows this is setting the stage for herself to be associated with just another of a man’s gadgets or playthings. She said it is up to the woman to require that she be treated well, properly courted and formally asked for a date via an actual telephone call.

Another thing she strongly discourages is women setting up residence in the world of wonder. In this scenario, the man, whether consciously or subconsciously, keeps the woman in a slightly off balanced state of mind with his inconsistent behavior. She said if a man is more than 10 or 15 minutes late (especially for the first 2-3 dates) and has not called to apologize and let you know that he is on the way, you should let it go. Better yet, if he stands you up without calling at any stage in the game, let it go.

I agree, because we are not detectives, well not many of us, and we should not have to be “wondering” all the time. Wondering if he is coming, wondering if he’s in a car accident unconscious and can’t call us, wondering is his phone acting up again, wondering why we didn’t immediately ask for a family member’s number so we will always have a way to reach him.

Yes, although wonder can be an awe-filled state of joy; too much wonder in a relationship can lead to a constant state of question-filled doubt. So when it comes to love maybe we can all just agree to leave Wonder to the business of making bread, and leave the romance to Cupid.

 

 

Will the real bikers please stand up: mayhem and memorials

May 19, 2015
Bikers have hearts too. (Photo Credit:  home.fotocommunity.de)

Bikers have hearts too. (Photo Credit: home.fotocommunity.de)

It was very disheartening to hear about the nine motorcyclists that were killed in a violent exchange of gunfire this past Sunday. In the past two decades the connotation of a biker gang has changed. Bikers became infamous in Hollywood movies that portrayed them as rough-around-the-edges drifters, who rarely put roots down in a town long enough to fall in love. In addition to the wall of isolation surrounding their hearts, they were almost always shown to have an affinity for abiding on the wrong side of the law. They’d thunder into town, break a few hearts, deal a few drugs, and ride out in a cloud of dust. Even in modern times, they always seemed to find a town with at least one dirt road that was perfect for kicking up of cloud of dust.

The 1969 film “Easy Rider” provided one of the most intimate glimpses into the day-to-day events and mentality of bikers that audiences had ever seen. It showed less of them as flat stereotypes, but rather men of many sides like everyone else. Despite what just happened this weekend, or maybe to give a balanced perspective, I wanted to share that I recently saw a new (for me) and more tender side of bikers. A co-worker’s father had passed away and I attended the homegoing services to show my respect. As I turned into the chapel parking lot, I saw row upon row of motorcycles everywhere and became a little nervous. After clicking the button to make sure all four of my doors were locked, I slowed down just enough to make sure the numbers on the building matched the address of the funeral home I was seeking. I parked and walked slowly towards the chapel, clutching my purse tightly.

I was impressed and surprised at the beauty of seeing both male and female bikers lining both sides of the sidewalk from the street to the top of the stairwell entering the chapel. Many of them were called up later to make remarks after the eulogy. What emerged was the picture of a man remembered for his love of God, family and bikes. One man broke down in tears as he remembered himself and the deceased (only 79 at the time) embarking on a cross-country ride. As more of them told stories, I was educated as I learned about the many charities that bikers participate in and the untold causes they raise money for such as researching cures and granting scholarships. I gained a newfound respect for them that will last long after the memories of the  tender way they lifted their comrade’s casket and ushered him out of the chapel.

So as this Waco story continues to unfold and investigators sift through evidence, let us remember we should try our darndest not to paint any group with one big brush. The people who started this shoot-’em-up brawl were just a few bad pages out of a fascinating book of adventurers.

 

 

“American Idol”: cancelled, but never forgotten

May 12, 2015

Audition of season one winner Kelly Clarkson

The hit television show “American Idol” is coming to a close after 15 seasons, according to an article in Variety magazine. Surprisingly many people via social media outlets are expressing thoughts that the show is past its prime, and should be put out to pasture. The producers want to see the show end on a “celebratory note” rather than be kicked out of the ring, holding onto the ropes with bloody fingers.

I will be a little sad to see it go. I think the show is a phenomenon! It has definitely fired up the dreams and hopes of many young hopefuls. Kids lined up for regional auditions and drove, or had their parents drive them, sometimes 12 hours or more for a chance to grab the elusive brass ring. I remember watching from the edge of my seat as a few contestants over the years admitted that they had called in sick, or even quit their jobs.

I would almost hold my breath rooting for them to make it. The courage and determination to risk it all on an audition lasting a few moments? The common sense (after all bills have to be paid) in me did many a battle with the part of me that admired the daring that they’d shown.  You only live once and it was exhilarating to see these teens and adults experiencing life to the fullest.

The article lists some of the “American Idol” alumni whose stardom shot into the stratosphere. Kelly Clarkson was the very first winner in 2002. She is still going strong, having won two Grammys in 2014:  Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Pop Solo Performance.  And she’s not the only one continuing to make great music. And it’s all the more endearing to see their success because we feel like we were on this ride with them from the beginning of the first nervous sweaty moments, to their evolutions to full out rock stars. Remember these gems?

  • Chris Daughtry
  • Ruben Studdard
  • Fantasia Barrino
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Jennifer Hudson

I’ve enjoyed all of the judges, but my favorite group was the first panel which consisted of Simon Cowell (the judge you loved to hate), Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. Their original chemistry was great. Even their little spats made you chuckle. But in the end they usually got it right, and picked the best talent to progress to the next round. There are whispers that the finale might feature visits from some of the past judges and performers from the show. That’s going to be a night to remember and, God willing, I plan to be right there watching. Make sure you’re logged into Facebook and Twitter if you watch it so we can chat amongst ourselves as we snack on popcorn and watch the end of a golden era.  🙂

Succeeding on Facebook; how to stay in your lane

May 7, 2015
Proceed with a little caution and wisdom, and you'll be fine. (Photo Credit:  Pixabay.com)

Proceed with a little caution and wisdom, and you’ll be fine. (Photo Credit: Pixabay.com)

Today I’d like for us to discuss Facebook author etiquette. The platform itself offers a wonderful opportunity to get our work out there to the public for free, which is especially great if you’re at the start of your career, and not yet raking in the dough. You can post links to your books on your personal page as often as you like, or at least until your friends beg you to stop. Lol.

For this very reason many authors have created a business page dedicated solely to their books. It is presumed that if someone “likes” or follows your book page, they should not be surprised or annoyed to see multiple posts about, well…your books. Authors can  put up reminders of upcoming book releases, book signings, post chapter excerpts and conduct giveaways.

Now Facebook will even permit, actually encourage, you to create events. Everything about it looks and sounds glamorous, giving your book-related happenings all of the allure and fanfare of an old-fashioned Hollywood premiere. You can invite all of your Facebook friends with one quick click. The only thing is that I wish it had an option to hide the little box that shows how many were invited and how many are attending. It can be a little embarrassing to see that big banner reading “INVITED – 1,562 , MAYBE – 25, GOING – 3”.

However there is one thing that I see occurring more and more, and it’s really a tad bit rude. It seems that many authors in their eagerness to share their “baby” with the world have taken to plastering links to and blurbs about their books on their friends’ pages without said friends’ permission or prior knowledge. This is a no-no and can get you blocked from many book club pages. Many of these book clubs are highly organized and have specific days that authors are allowed to promote their books. Pay close attention to those days. We all make mistakes starting out, and you do not want to be me with the page moderator’s comment under my book blurb saying something to the effect that presumably I wrote better that I followed instructions. You talk about a horrifying experience, but learn from it I did. Of course I deleted my post as soon as I saw the comment, but who knows how many people saw it  and made a negative judgment about my book before I deleted it? Ouch, that moment still gives me shudders.

But back to your personal friends. I don’t care if you and Judy or Jack knew each other 30 years ago in grade school, right is right. And the polite thing to do is to send a quick message to your friends asking them would they mind if you posted such-and-such about your book on their page. Nine times out of 10 they will say yes the first time. But don’t take that yes as a permanent contract that allows you to post all day, every day, forevermore on their timelines. It might seem like a pain, but I would ask each time I wanted to post. As long as you take full advantage of Facebook, but never of your Facebook friends, you should have no problems at all. Happy writing. 🙂

 

Taxes, schmaxes…fear not, writers can get a break in today’s business world

May 4, 2015
Rejoice writers! Now you can write in peace without fear of losing the shirts off of your backs.  (Photo Credit:  www.flickr.com)

Rejoice writers! Now you can write in peace without fear of losing the shirts off of your backs. (Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com)

I hope everyone had a lovely first weekend of May. The weather was delicious here in beautiful South Carolina, which immediately put just about everyone in a joyful mood. I also stumbled upon some news that really made my day as an author, and I couldn’t wait to share it. Did you know that there are many things that we use daily in going about the business of writing that can be deducted on our tax returns? Now admittedly a lot of people probably already know about it because the article I found was dated June 17, 2010. Lol.

The article is “Tax Advice for Writers” written by Bonnie Lee. It is a good-sized composition that you can read at your leisure and take helpful notes. But just to summarize, there are some things that the IRS will allow writers to deduct from their income because they are considered “ordinary and necessary” business expenses. A few that are mentioned are:

  • Mileage to and from writers’ conferences and/or classes to further your craft
  • Advertising and marketing expenses
  • Computers, laptops and other equipment that you use primarily for your writing

Lee stresses that it is imperative to keep detailed records in the event of an IRS audit. One example she gives is rather than just keep a credit card receipt for a hotel stay, it is better to staple a flyer showing the writers’ conference being held at the hotel on that date, as well as a receipt for your registration to the conference, to the credit card receipt for which you are trying to deduct for your room and board.

Although the favored deductions will be different for each person, I must admit that what really excites me the most is learning about the advertising and marketing expense possibilities. I have long confined myself to advertising only on my own website (www.PamelaKayNobleBrown.com, by the way), Twitter, Facebook, and any other book groups that I could find that would let me advertise for free. I did this not because I was cheap, but because I simply cannot afford advertising until my book sales take off, but my book sales won’t take off without advertising because no one will know they’re there. Well, I’m sure many other authors are aware of what can be a catch-22 situation.

But when you learn better, you do better.  With this added information, I can now actually spend money on education writers’ conferences to hone my craft, vending tables, book covers, business cards, etc., knowing that they are considered legitimate business expenses, and not just out-of-pocket losses.

The main thing to remember, according to Lee, is that, and this bears repeating, you must have an organized system of record keeping so that you can prove that this is a venture that you have entered into with the true intention of making a profit (whether you actually made a profit or not) and not just a passing hobby.  And it is always best to consult a professional accountant or tax preparer. This actually has breathed life into my writing aspirations as I now have more tools at my disposable with which to share my writings with the world.  Hopefully Lee’s article will have other writers doing gleeful cartwheels over their computers as they hurry off to beat the deadlines to get their ads placed in their marketing avenue of choice. Viva les writers!

Tensions in Baltimore run amok; the naked truth is the only solution; what really happened?

April 28, 2015
We cannot let the beautiful and historic city of Baltimore self-destruct. (photo credit:  www.wyndhambaltimoremtvernon.com)

We cannot let the beautiful and historic city of Baltimore self-destruct. (photo credit: http://www.wyndhambaltimoremtvernon.com)

Try an experiment when you get a chance. Or maybe you’ve tried this one numerous times as a kid. Plop a pebble into a lake and it is fascinating to see the ripple effect outward as far as the eye can see. It is often easy to forget that incidents of stone, dropped into the sea called life can have an almost unimaginably far-reaching effect.

A young man named Freddie Gray was buried in Baltimore, MD, on Monday, April 28, 2015. Freddie was arrested recently, and it was determined that he died in the process of being transported in a police vehicle. Police authorities have admitted that Gray asked for medical attention at some point during the trip, however this request was denied. As of yet, no reason has been given for the denial. Maybe they were in a hurry? Could be, but it seems they had time to stop, remove Gray from the paddy wagon and put shackles on his feet, and then continue on with their journey.

Something severed his spine, and he died in police custody. What could it have been? A particularly deep pot hole in the street? A policeman’s heavy rifle accidentally fell on his back? The police have said they will issue a statement once they have completed the investigation. Behind those two heavy van doors, there is only a limited square footage of area to examine, and a limited number of people who were in that tiny space to question. Let’s hope they don’t drag it out. If the department has any investigative skills at all, it shouldn’t take that long to figure it out.

There are some people who have had quite enough of the slaying of blacks while in the custody of those sworn to protect and serve. And these people went about venting their highly understandable frustrations entirely the wrong way. Peaceful protests are needed, but looting and foolishness just invites more trouble and widens the gulf between civilians and law enforcement personnel.

But the majority of people are willing to wait on the Baltimore PD’s report before taking sides. The country, nay even the world is waiting to hear the what happened that led to most people waking up, seeing the broadcasts and wondering what country we were invading. Instead, it was the National Guard, 5000 strong, putting boots on the ground in Baltimore. Scary stuff. But just the tip of the iceberg if the official report, scheduled to be released May 1st, has some concocted fable of how they lay Gray on the bench in the police van, and there was a single pea under the mattress and it broke his spine. Leave the fairy tales to Hans Christian Andersen. Let’s keep it real, keep it honest, and put the perpetrators in jail.

Only when the truth comes out, will the city quiet down. Cover-ups are like continuously scratching a scab. The wounds ooze ugly festering pus, but never completely heal. I thank you.

Our prayers go out to the family of Mr. Freddie Gray, the policemen and firemen that have been injured in the melees, the innocent business owners whose life’s work has been reduced to ashes, and the families all over Baltimore who are just trying to live their lives in peace.

Ice cold; social media and Bobbi Kristina’s daddy

April 24, 2015

By now many of us have heard the tragic story of how Bobbi Kristina Brown was found facedown in a tub of water and now, months later is still fighting for her life. Lately I’ve been reading some comments by what I call Cyber Hope Stealers that are very disturbing.

Bobbi Kristina and her parents   (Photo credit: globalgrind.com)

Bobbi Kristina and her parents (Photo credit: globalgrind.com)

Bobbi Kristina has always been in the spotlight. Her parents Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown were so famous that it seemed the world, at least music lovers, waited with bated breath for the birth of their precious baby girl. Probably a major reason that the news of Bobbi Kristina’s tragedy hit the public so hard, is that we’d watched her parents grow up and become major successes in the entertainment field. We followed their whirlwind courtship and vicariously enjoyed their fairytale wedding in a New Jersey palace.

Family fun at that magical place.  ( photo credit: theurbandaily.com)

Family fun at that magical place. ( photo credit: theurbandaily.com)

Despite the maddening pace and pressures her parents faced in the music industry, there seemed to have been moments of pure family fun and laughter. After all, Micky and Minnie Mouse can make all of our troubles disappear, even if only for a day. To the very end of 15 years of marriage, Brown and Houston pledged their love to each other. But I’ll never forget asking a divorced friend years ago why she and her husband split when to onlookers they appeared so much in love. She said that it was sad to admit, but the truth is you can love someone with all of your heart, but just can’t live with them. And that appears to have been the case with the Browns. I believe they genuinely fell in love, but either outside forces, inner demons, or perhaps a combination of things, made them decide to end their marriage.

Joyful Father/Daughter reunion.  (photo credit:  celebrity.yahoo.com)

Joyful Father/Daughter reunion. (photo credit: celebrity.yahoo.com)

As is the unfortunate case with many divorces, young children, if parents are not careful, can suffer collateral damage. They are not quite mature enough to make sense of it all, and may feel torn between the two sides in a strange adult-like game of tug of war. In this case Bobbi Kristina and her father were estranged a number of years before the heartbreaking death of her beloved mother.

It was extremely encouraging when Bobbi Kristina posted the above pictures via Instagram on June 15, 2014. Last year on Father’s Day they rekindled their relationship and were determined to become close again. Bobbi Kristina, in addition to the pictures, posted the following words:

“I got a running start! 😋 love you daddy! #familyfirst! Xxo”

“(: my face says it all.. 🙂 love you daddy!” and “#HappyHappyFathersDay,”

I am just so thankful they reconciled when they did, because they had no way of knowing what would happen only seven months later. Unbelievably, just when things seemed to be looking up for this family that had suffered so much misfortune, things once again took a turn for the worst, and Bobbi Kristina is now in a rehabilitation facility.

Most people are posting words of encouragement to her family. But the disturbing comments I referenced earlier have been targeted at Brown for wanting to be at his daughter’s side now, when she is seemingly unconscious, when he missed a lot of her teen years. What an outrage. Many parents want to be in their children’s lives after the dissolution of a marriage, and try their best, but sometimes the situation is less than desirable depending upon schedules, bitterness between the parents, or other logistics. Let them that have executed perfect child visitation, absolutely 100% of the time, cast the first stone.

Even more outrageous are the comments dismissing Brown as an opportunist because he didn’t pull the plug on Bobby Kristina after the first few weeks of unresponsiveness. Are you kidding me?  This is his child. Less than a seven months ago they just got their relationship back on track. I think these cyber bullies should just leave Brown alone, concentrate on having the best relationship they can with their own children, and pray nobody ever compounds their grief with criticisms should they find themselves faced with a similar decision as a parent. I thank you.

As the old Gospel song says, “the only time you should look down on a man is when you’re picking him up.”  I join the many others who have posted lifting Bobbi Kristina, Bobby Brown, Cissy Houston (Bobbi’s Grandmother) and the rest of the family in prayer for strength during this trying time.

Outdated irrelevant dinosaur…or do good manners still matter?

April 21, 2015
You catch more bees with honey than vinegar. (Photo credit:  www.flickr.com)

        You catch more bees with honey than vinegar. (photo credit:  http://www.flickr.com)

Good manners. Whether they were drilled into us, cajoled into us or we were simply following the examples lived by our parents, at some point in most of our lives, the concept of civility survived and thrived in our interactions with others. For the most part it’s all good. However, there are always a few bad apples in the bunch that tend to give the others a bad name.

This thought came to mind as I was eating some peanuts leftover from a certain restaurant that I frequent. I won’t mention the name, but this eatery is known for its good food, relaxing atmosphere, and allowing its patrons to toss peanut shells on the floor. You can also take a bag of the peanuts home to enjoy later, hence the ones I’m crunching on now.

But back to the story. I had called in a to-go order and the person on the phone said it would take about 15 to 20 minutes for my order to be ready. I was already near their location, so I decided to sit in my car and play with my phone to pass the time. A white SUV pulled up alongside of me and a couple got out with a little girl who appeared to be around three or four years old. She yelled hello in an effort to get my attention from the phone. I looked up and she was beaming as she told me they were going to eat. I said I was waiting on a to-go order, partly to make conversation, and partly to let her parents know I wasn’t some suspicious character in the habit of lurking around the parking lots of diners.

About two minutes later this same family came speed-walking back to their vehicle as if they couldn’t get away from the place fast enough. The dad was carrying the little girl whose smile was gone as she told me they were not going to eat. I asked the parents if everything was okay, to which the father replied, “Those heifers didn’t even look up, let alone greet us.” I expressed that I was sorry they’d had to put up with such rude behavior. They said they would not spend their money at a place where someone couldn’t spare two seconds for a quick hello or welcome.

So I walked in, truthfully but, as it turned out, naively thinking it wouldn’t happen twice in a row. Sure enough I walked in, and there were four young ladies at the counter with their backs to the door, whispering and giggling. Now I’ve worked in plenty of restaurants, and it is grueling work. So I don’t blame the hostesses (who appeared to be in their late teens/early 20’s) for taking a moment to laugh. My concern was that quite a few moments passed with no one acknowledging me at all.

Finally a manager came out and asked had I been helped. I said that not only had I not been helped, but that I hadn’t even been greeted. Furthermore, I told her that I know of at least one family they’d lost as customers for the same reason. After she made sure I had my order, she told the girls that they would have to do a better job greeting the guests. She reprimanded them in a quiet, professional tone and told them she didn’t need to hear any excuses, just needed them to do better. They cast shy glances and thanked me for coming as I made my way towards the exit. I felt better and will continue to eat there. They are young, and we’ve all been in the same situation. Hopefully this was their first adult lesson that old-fashioned good manners still go a long way. I thank you.